After a week and a half without playing a game, CSU opened up its conference schedule Saturday with two victories against the University of New Mexico. It didn’t take long for Ram hitters to shake off the rust, beating the Lobos 12-7 in game one, and 9-3 in game two.
“It’s great to come out and play well,” said head coach Mari Yori. “Especially after two weeks off. We didn’t dominate the other team, but we hit well and played solid defense.”
CSU softball notched its 600th victory as a program with the game one victory. In the opening game, senior Tara Harbert was 3-for-5 from behind the plate and scored twice, while sophomore Lauren Cusick went 2-for-4 and scored three times. Also contributing for the Rams was sophomore Julia Kloppe, who went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs.
In the second game of the afternoon, Stacey Leigh carried the Rams by going 3-for-3 at the plate, with two home runs and four RBIs. Senior Jessica Strickland recorded her second victory of the day after giving up three runs in five innings.
“Strickland pitched very well, and that’s a good sign for us because she’s our veteran pitcher,” stated Yori. Although Strickland had a productive weekend, success was harder to come by for CSU’s young pitcher.
In game one, freshman pitcher Kim Klabough had what was perhaps her roughest outing of the season. In five innings of work, she gave up seven runs before senior Jessica Strickland came on in relief to shut out the Lobos for the final three innings of the game.
“We talked to (Klabough) between games and she admitted she was a little nervous and tight out there,” Yori said. “Everyone gets nervous, but she handled it well and settled down in game 2.”
In the last three innings of game two, Klabough didn’t allow a run, and even struck out the final batter of the game. Coach Yori was thrilled with how her young pitcher responded to the tough start, saying, “It was good to see her get back on track after a shaky start, we’re very confident in her.”
The Rams will once again hit the road this week, with stops in Las Vegas and San Diego. They’ll continue conference play with two games against UNLV Friday, and two more against San Diego State on Sunday. This will be CSU’s final road trip before a 10-game home stand that starts April 14.
Drew Gonzales can be reached a email@example.com